Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 5 (1901).djvu/293

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

NOTES AND QUERIES.

267

It will perhaps be remembered by some how much controversy was, in 1896, centred round the assertion I made (ante, 1896, pp. 101, 193, 256, 300, 302, 353) in connection with the St. Leonard's bird, viz. that the markings were so distinct that I could distinguish the bird amongst a flock of Meadow-Pipits with or without the aid of field-glasses. After my experience with the Pipits here recorded, and increased observations here, and with other Pipits in Iceland and elsewhere, I repeat my assertion with redoubled emphasis. Any ornithologist who thoroughly educates his eyes to the outlines and general appearance of our native birds in the field ought to be able to distinguish between A. pratensis and A. cervinus in autumn or winter plumage—giving, of course, a moderate range—without difficulty. The Pipits are certainly a puzzling class of birds, and resemble each other closely in plumage; but there is, in addition to their distinct songs, a difference in build between them, which is most noticeable; for instance, the difference in build between A. trivialis and A. pratensis, when either may be feeding in small flocks in a meadow in early spring, ought to be clear to any acute observer without having to trust to the notes of the birds. This difference in build is also very striking in other Pipits I have seen abroad. I know that it must be most difficult for those who have to deal chiefly with skins in a cabinet to appreciate this difference; to do so there must be a thorough acquaintance with the birds in the field.

In conclusion, these two Irish examples of Anthus cervinus have remained in my cabinet unrecorded for unavoidable reasons, and waiting until I had an opportunity to send them to an authority to confirm my identification. Recently Mr. O.V. Aplin paid me a visit, and had no hesitation in pronouncing them specimens of this bird; and, as Mr. Aplin has shot dozens of them abroad, and is well acquainted with their general appearance and changes of plumage, his identification, added to the unmistakable descriptions of Middendorff, Bree, and Seebohm, may, I think, be taken as settling the point.—F. Coburn (7, Holloway Head, Birmingham).

Rosefinch released in Devon.—Having to proceed to England on leave, I took the opportunity of bringing with me some specimens of the Rosefinch (Carpodacus erythrinus), in order to release them in England. Two or three died on the voyage, and one escaped, out of the dozen I originally started with; but I was able to release the remaining birds from the train soon after it left Plymouth on June 16th, and had the satisfaction of seeing them go off strong on the wing, although they were not in very good condition of plumage, and could mostly be easily recognized as captive birds if shot by anyone at present. I did not like, however, to keep them longer, as in the cage—a fairly large one—they did nothing but eat and fight, and were getting grossly fat. I am sorry to say that all are males, females being almost unprocurable in Calcutta this year. But as the female Rose-